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Where Does IMS Stand?

Where Does IMS Stand?

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Published by PipelinePublishing

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Published by: PipelinePublishing on Nov 17, 2011
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© 2011, All informaon contained herein is the sole property of Pipeline Publishing, LLC. Pipeline Publishing LLC reserves all rights and privileges regarding the use of this informaon. Anyunauthorized use, such as distribung, copying, modifying, or reprinng, is not permied. This document is not intended for reproducon or distribuon outside of 
.To obtain permission to reproduce or distribute this document contact
 for informaon about Reprint Services.
Where does IMS stand?
By Tim Young In considering the on-again-off-again relationshipbetween market observers and IMS, I thoughtback to an article I wrote on the topic in 2005. Irecall it mostly for the mix of enthusiasm and sheerbafement demonstrated by many of the vendors andservice providers I spoke to about the technology.The piece was entitled, “Emerging IMS: Charting aNew Direction”, and most of the vendors I spoke withdon’t even exist anymore. (If you’re itching for a ride in the wayback machine, you can read the whole articlehere: http://www.pipelinepub.com/0605/tyoung.php)I closed the article with these words: “Optimism issomewhat easier to grab onto on the front end of achallenge. As IMS grows and changes, the true abilityof rms to stay ahead of the curve will be tested, andit will be positive results that adorn the rms thatdisplay the most accurate vision of the future of IMS.”Now, there were all kinds of things I didn’t knowin 2005: That taking shampoo onto an airplanewould one day be illegal. Which characters on thereimagined Battlestar Galactica were Cylons. That there would ever be such a thing as an iPhone.But it was clear, even then, that IMS may have acomplicated future.True to form, within a few short years, the deathof IMS was being declared in conference sessionsand publications throughout the industry. Some,like Yankee Group’s Brian Partridge, asserted that it was just the death of the hype cycle, but that the technology would remain active as long as CSPs remained invested in the complex andexpensive framework (http://blogs.yankeegroup.com/2008/04/02/ims- hype-is-ofcially-dead/).Others, like unequivocal IMS critic Dean Bubley, werefar less diplomatic, decrying IMS as a boondogglewhose time had passed and that was only being propped up by those with incentive to do the propping (http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.com/2009/08/mobile-ims-and-lte- networks-dead-parrot.html).And why wouldn’t that be the case? Vendors,
Volume 8, Issue 3
 
© 2011, All informaon contained herein is the sole property of Pipeline Publishing, LLC. Pipeline Publishing LLC reserves all rights and privileges regarding the use of this informaon. Anyunauthorized use, such as distribung, copying, modifying, or reprinng, is not permied. This document is not intended for reproducon or distribuon outside of 
www.pipelinepub.com
.To obtain permission to reproduce or distribute this document contact
sales@pipelinepub.com
for informaon about Reprint Services.
following the Field of Dreams model of infrastructuredevelopment (“If you build it, they will come.”) got towork doing the building, but the cost and complexityof IMS was proving to be too much for CSPs.In fact, when we rst discussed mentioning IMS asa part of our network impact issue, the conversationwent something like, “now that IMS is dead, what areservice providers using to do the things it should havedone?”Meanwhile, however, IMS was not resting in peace.Instead it was waiting for its moment to stride, likeTom Sawyer, into its own funeral service, breathing and grinning.That moment seems to have arrived, thanks to LTEbullishness.LTE’s strength is also its weakness: It’s all IP. Thereis no baked-in support for voice. In order to make LTEvoice work, there are essentially four choices at this time (summed up nicely on the Teknocrat blog):Circuit switched fallback (CSFB), which is a temporary solution based on 3GPP standards.Voice over LTE via Generic Access (VoLGA), whichis also a temporary solution and offers littlepromise of developing into a full multimediaservice.OTT applications like Skype, which raise access/permissions issues for many carriers And,• IMSThis is an issue that was addressed by the One Voiceinitiative orchestrated through the GSMA in 2009-2010. This initiative, composed of AT&T, Orange,Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone,Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks,Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, used currentopen standards to dene the minimum mandatory setof functionality for interoperable IMS-based voice andSMS over LTE. The recommendations of the membersof this initiative were folded into the broader VoLTEprogram in early 2010.In VoLTE, IMS has found, if not its rebirth, denitely itsride into the future:“Our 2011 survey results show that xed-line VoIP continues to be the primary servicedeployed over IMS,” said Diane Myers, Directing Analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Researchin a statement released alongside that rm’s IMSglobal provider survey. “However, there also is anotable continuing shift toward IMS in the mobileworld, evidenced by the rising number of mobileservices planned over IMS by 2013: 78% of ourrespondents will have a mobile-specic servicesuch as mobile messaging, VoLTE (voice overLTE), RCS (Rich Communication Service), and/orVoIP over 3G by 2013, up from 35% today.”According to that survey, the leading factors driving IMS deployments are the desire to possess the ability to offer converged services and LTE deployment.This may be partly driven by pressure from theGSMA VoLTE initiative to avoid the aforementioned temporary solutions whenever possible (solutionslike CSFB and VoLGA, which could prove difcult andcostly to remove).This may also be because vendors are as invigoratedby this IMS renaissance as the service providers are.Infonetics reports that Nokia-Siemens Networks,Alcatel-Lucent, and Ericsson—all of which weremembers of the One Voice initiative—are the mostcommonly cited infrastructure vendors by serviceproviders asked to identify leaders in the IMS space.Huawei, however, is named by the report as a credible threat to those European powerhouses, and has beenunderscoring the crucial nature of IMS in the growthof LTE in its own right. According to a presentationby Huawei’s Rebecca Copeland at last fall’s 3GPPrelease 8 Implementation, Deployment, and Testing workshop, Huawei is the world leader in current LTEdeployments, with 18+ commercial projects and 60 trials underway, worldwide. The bulk of these projectsare in Europe and Asia (which, according to Infonetics
IMS was waiting for itsmoment to stride, like TomSawyer, into its own funeralservice, breathing andgrinning.

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